Remember how you didn't believe Dwight Howard actually hit 80 percent of his free throws in practice, as he (and a dry-erase board in the Los Angeles Lakers locker room) claimed last year? Well, as it turns out, you were right. According to this video reportedly recorded before the Rockets' Nov. 16 win over the Denver Nuggets, it's actually more like 90 percent:
The previously struggling Howard went 17 for 24 (70.8 percent) from the line in that game, leading Nuggets coach Brian Shaw to kick himself for sticking with an intentional fouling strategy that, while sound when the hack-ee is a solid bet to miss more than half his free throws, came back to bite him on that night. He's shooting just under 65 percent from the stripe over his last five games, pushing him past 50-50 (to 54.4 percent, if you're interested) on the season; if that holds up, it'd be his best mark in three years. (Which isn't much, I know, but it's something, at least.)
So, here we are. On the plus side, we now know that Dwight's not fibbing when he says he can make 'em like a sharpshooter before the bright lights come on; on the other hand, though, we now seem to have eliminated all potential explanations beyond, "This is all in your head." Where we go from here, then, depends on whether or not Howard can maintain his recent upswing and keep those heckling voices in his head from piping up too loud during actual games.
Video via Desmond Au.
- - - - - - -